Saturday & Sunday Enrichment Programs

Saturday & Sunday Enrichment Programs

Why participate in the Weekend Enrichment Programs? The Saturday & Sunday Enrichment Programs:

  • Offer a community of like-minded peers.
  • Provide challenging accelerated courses with admissions score criteria.
  • Present opportunities to delve deeper into a single topic and to develop an advantage in one’s area of strength.
  • Focus on the whole family, offering parent education workshops that address the social-emotional development of gifted learners.

Free Parent Seminars

New for Fall 2016! CTD has partnered with Rush NeuroBehavioral Center for a series on Navigating the Complex Cognitive and Emotional Needs of a Gifted Child. We hope you will join us for these free seminars! View the schedule for these fall dates


Application Process

The Weekend Enrichment Program welcomes applications from new applicants, returning applicants and portfolio applicants. Before beginning the online application, determine which type of applicant you are based on the descriptions below.

New Applicant
You are a new applicant if you are age 4 through grade 9 and you meet either one of the following criteria:

  • You have never attended any CTD program and you have qualifying test scores that are no more than two years old.
  • You have previously attended a Weekend Enrichment Program, Gifted LearningLinks Program or the Summer Program, but you are now applying for a course in a different subject area and you have qualifying test scores.

Returning Applicant
You are a returning applicant if you are age 4 through grade 9 and you meet both of the following criteria: 

  • You have successfully completed a CTD course through the Weekend Enrichment Program, Summer Program or Gifted LearningLinks Program.
  • You are now applying for a WEP course in the same subject area of the CTD course you previously completed and wish to use your old scores as evidence of your qualifications for the program.

Portfolio Applicant
You are a portfolio applicant if you are grade 3 through 9 and you meet the following criterion:

  • You do not have qualifying test scores because you have either 1) never taken a nationally normed standardized achievement test or 2) taken this type of test but not achieved a qualifying test score.


Some WEP courses require prerequisites. Please see course descriptions for more information.


To qualify for the Weekend Enrichment Program (WEP) admission to enrichment (not for credit) courses, students must be age 4 through grade 9 and must also provide evidence of one of the following criteria:

  • Within the last two years, successful completion of a CTD Weekend Enrichment Program, Gifted LearningLinks (excluding Family Program courses) or Summer Program course in the subject area of the WEP course to which student is applying;
  • Within the last two years, a score at the 90th percentile or above on a nationally normed standardized test (see below) in the subject area of the WEP course to which student is applying;
  • Participation in above grade-level testing such as the EXPLORE® test taken in grades 3, 4, 5, or 6, the ACT® or SAT® test taken in grades 6, 7, 8 or 9 (NUMATS).
  • Qualifying academic evaluation (available to students age 4 through grade 3) performed by Center for Talent Development or a similar testing agency; or
  • Submission of an Admission Portfolio (an option only for students in grades 3 through 9).

Admission Portfolio for Enrichment Classes

An Admission Portfolio is accepted once a student is in grade 3 and includes all the following documents:

  • Required: one teacher recommendation form indicating student is performing 1½ to 2 years above grade level in the subject area of the WEP course to which student is applying; 
  • Required: recent school report card indicating exceptional performance in the subject area of the WEP course to which student is applying; 
  • If available: most recent state testing report; any results of EXPLORE®, ACT®, SAT® or other nationally normed test

High School Credit Courses

To qualify for WEP admission to honors-level high school credit courses, students must provide evidence of one of the following criteria:

  • Within the last two years, a score at the 95th percentile or above on a nationally normed standardized test in the appropriate subject area (see below);
  • Within the last two years, participate in above grade-level testing and receive score as follows in the appropriate subject area:
    • ACT-Reading 19 or above
    • ACT-Math 18 or above 
    • ACT-Science 18 or above 
    • SAT-Math 460 or above 
    • SAT-Critical Reading 440 or above
    • EXPLORE-Reading 14 or above
    • EXPLORE-Math 15 or above 
    • EXPLORE-Science 16 or above; or 
  • Submission of an Admission Portfolio.

Admission Portfolio for High School Credit Courses

An Admission Portfolio includes the following documents:

  • Required: two teacher recommendations forms indicating student is performing 1½ to 2 years above grade level in the subject area of the WEP course to which student is applying;
  • Required: current school report card indicating exceptional performance in the subject area of the WEP course to which student is applying;
  • If available: most recent state testing report; any results of EXPLORE®, ACT®, SAT® or other nationally normed test,

Homeschooler Admission Portfolio
A Homeschooler Admission Portfolio includes:

  • Two teacher recommendations forms from adults unrelated to the applicant; and 
  • Parent’s statement describing the student’s learning in the appropriate academic area over the past year, including references to curriculum, books, projects and activities.

Additionally, the Homeschooler Admission Portfolio may include any or all of the following, depending on availability:

  • Copies of the student’s best work in the appropriate academic area; 
  • Copies of teacher evaluations from any classes taken from umbrella schools, co-ops, etc.; 
  • Copies of any available standardized test reports taken in the last 24 months; 
  • Copy of transcript or grade report for current academic year (Please indicate if this was produced by a parent); and
  • Any other information that might provide insight into the student’s academic strengths and help us place him/her in the appropriate course.

Acceptable Tests for WEP Eligibility

To prove eligibility for WEP, applicants may submit a nationally normed, standardized achievement test taken within the last two years demonstrating a score in the 90th percentile or above (National Percentile Rank) in math and/or reading. Below are examples of tests we have accepted for admission. (Please note: since achievement tests are preferred, cognitive ability tests, such as the Weschler tests, may require additional documentation.)

  • Center for Talent Development Academic Evaluation 
  • ACT® or SAT® Test
  • Stanford Achievement Test 
  • Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS)
  • Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) 
  • Terra Nova Test 
  • ERB Tests: Comprehensive Testing Program, Independent School Entrance Exam
  • Northwest Evaluation Association Tests (NWEA): Measures of Academic Progress (MAP), MAP for Primary Grades 
  • Otis-Lennon Test
  • Kaufman Test of Education Achievement (KTEA) 
  • Weschler Tests: WPPSI, WISC, WIAT 
  • Woodcock-Johnson Test 
  • Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT) 
  • California Achievement Test 
  • School and College Ability Test (SCAT) 
  • Any other achievement test with a National Percentile Rank (NPR %)

*95th percentile or above (National Percentile Rank) scores in math and/or reading are required for WEP honors-level, high school credit courses.

Financial Aid Opportunities

CTD offers need-based financial aid awarded as requests are received. Families are encouraged to apply early because the amount of aid available is limited.

  • The amount of financial aid awarded varies from partial to full tuition, and awards are based on family income and extenuating circumstances (e.g., loss of job, unforeseen medical expenses, etc.). Most families awarded aid have a total household income of less than $50,000.
  • Financial aid is awarded for one program and one session per child.
  • To be considered for financial aid, families must complete the Financial Aid Application, available once a family has applied through the online application. All supporting materials (tax information, statement of need, etc.) must be included in the financial aid submission in order for an application for financial aid to be considered.

Course Environment

Key Aspects that Make the WEP Environment Unique

  • Extensive time is spent in the classroom studying one subject. 
    • Choosing a course that suits a student's strengths and interests is crucial. 
  • Students must advocate for themselves and seek out help when needed. 
  • WEP staff takes great efforts to get to know each student quickly, but students must know who to go to with questions or when they need help. 
  • Classes are rigorous, designed to be up to 2 years academically advanced, and there is little unstructured time. 
    • This requires significant focus and energy on the part of the students.

Locations & Times

Evanston, IL (EV)
Northwestern University

AM classes: 9am-11:30am
PM classes (Saturday only): Noon-2:30pm

Palatine, IL (PA)
Quest Academy 
500 N. Benton St.

AM classes: 9am-11:30am

Chicago, IL (CH)
The Frances Xavier Warde School
Holy Name Campus 
751 N. State St.

AM classes: 9am-11:30am
PM classes: Noon-2:30pm 

Naperville, IL (NP)
North Central College 
31 N. Loomis St.

AM classes: 9am-11:30am
PM classes: Noon-2:30pm

Lake Bluff, IL (LB)
Lake Bluff Elementary School
350 W. Washington Ave.

AM classes: 9am-11:30am

Safety & Conduct

The Weekend Enrichment Program (WEP) staff takes every reasonable step to ensure the safety and well-being of every WEP student, including the following:

  • Requiring a high standard for student conduct; and
  • Protecting student information.

High Standards for Student Conduct In order to maintain a safe and inviting learning environment, WEP participants must adhere to the CTD Honor Code. The Honor Code establishes standards and expectations for student behavior and reflects CTD's commitment to fostering character development, integrity and respect for diversity. 

Program Orientation

Acceptance notifications are sent via e-mail two to three weeks following receipt of a completed application. Please pay special attention to this notification. It will include information about student course placement and a link to access further information on:

  • Program orientation
  • Program policies
  • Supplies
  • Behavioral expectations

Emergency Closing Information

If we have to cancel classes due to weather-related or other campus emergencies at any of the sites, it will be indicated at, listed as Weekend Enrichment Program.


All Weekend Enrichment Program students receive a narrative evaluation that includes comments on the student’s performance in class as well as recommendations for future study. These evaluations are available 6 weeks after the final WEP class of the session. Students enrolled in high school credit-bearing courses also receive an official Center for Talent Development (CTD) transcript (upon request) with the course grade. To request a transcript, please email Whether taking classes for enrichment or academic credit, students benefit from the feedback and guidance they receive at the end of each session.

NEW! Hybrid In-Person & Online Courses

What is a hybrid course?

Hybrid courses combine in-person instruction with an online learning environment.  These “blended” courses offer the flexibility to complete a course for high school credit by meeting face-to-face for two full weekends, in addition to engaging in 34 weeks of online course work. Each hybrid course is equivalent to two semesters of high school credit.  

Why should I consider a hybrid course?

Hybrid courses are ideal for motivated and independent learners with busy schedules. These courses allow students to participate in labs and projects face-to-face, and continue engaging with their instructors and classmates during the academic year in an online environment.

  • Admission Requirements: see the eligibility criteria for honors courses, above.
  • Students must be available for these on-site weekends on the Northwestern University campus in Evanston, IL: September 24 & September 25 and May 20 & May 21
  • Students should anticipate 5-7 hours of online course work each week
  • Acceptance of credits by student’s school depends on that school’s institutional policy. Discuss credit acceptance with appropriate school administrator before applying if you are planning to receive credit at your school.
  • Apply now by choosing the "Hybrid" program option in the MyCTD Toolbox
  • Application Deadline: September 15, 2016
  • Available courses for the 2016-2017 school year:

Introduction to Pre-med Honors (Gr 6-9)

Considering a career as a doctor, pharmacist, or other health care professional?  This course provides a sampling of many disciplines required in most medical schools.  Students learn biological principles, basics of chemistry, and anatomy and physiology. Additionally, participants explore public health issues, immunology and current research.  On-site and virtual laboratory experiences - including dissections, chemical experiments and microscope labs - develop skills in appropriate lab protocol and conduct.

NOTES:  May be used as a lab science for IMSA and other selective high school applications; COST: $1235 (includes lab & materials fee) 

Introduction to Computer Science Honors (Gr 6-9)

What do computer scientists really do? Explore topics in computing such as abstraction and encapsulation, software engineering, and web development as you expand critical thinking and logic skills. Learn to build and implement programs and apps to solve real-world problems using languages such as Java, Python, PHP and JavaScript plus SQL, HTML, and more.

NOTES: Computers will be available on-site for students who choose not to bring their own laptops for the in-person weekends.

COST: $1,200

Job Opportunities

CTD takes pride in having excellent instructional staff. Courses are designed to be rigorous hands-on experiences for academically advanced students. Visit the Weekend Enrichment Program Job Opportunities pages to learn more.


BeeBot Buzz AM (K-1)

October 1, 2016 - November 19, 2016 9:00 am to 11:30 am

How do we tell robots what to do?

Using age-appropriate technology tools such as BeeBots®.  learn how to tell robots what to do and how to debug when they don’t listen. Design and build a series of mazes for the robots to navigate through. Write your own programs and represent that code in a variety of ways using words and symbols. Through hands-on activities, role play, and acquisition of basic programming vocabulary, students build an early foundation for the future.

QUALIFYING SCORE: Reading or math

SUBJECT AREA(s): Computer Science & Technology and Design & Engineering

Subject Area
Computer Science & Technology
Design & Engineering
Palatine, IL

Writing with Your Nose AM (Gr. 1-2)

October 1, 2016 - November 19, 2016 9:00 am to 11:30 am

What are some ways you can describe objects using the five senses?

Using all five senses, hone your skills of observation and description and make your audience feel like they are part of your story. Through journaling, read-alouds and language games, build vocabulary and learn to find just the right words to describe your favorite pastime, a memorable event, or a special place. Create a portfolio of writing to share with classmates and your family at Expo!


SUBJECT AREA: English & Language Arts

Subject Area
English & Language Arts
Chicago, IL

Puzzling Problems: Math & Logic AM (Gr. 2-3)

October 1, 2016 - November 19, 2016 9:00 am to 11:30 am

What strategies can you use to determine if your solution is logical?

How many solutions can you find for one problem? Use puzzles and games to investigate topics including Fibonacci numbers, combinations, fractions and ancient number systems. Gain an appreciation for numbers and numbering systems in everyday life while working with peers to find solutions to demanding problems. Explore connections among problems in measurement, probability, and geometry using critical thinking and deductive reasoning skills.


SUBJECT AREA: Mathematics 

Subject Area
Naperville, IL

Debate the Issues AM (Gr. 4-5)

October 1, 2016 - November 19, 2016 9:00 am to 11:30 am

Why is debate important in our daily lives?

Debate practice improves speaking, research, reading and writing, reasoning and critical thinking skills. Choose a topic and work with teammates to research questions and summarize information in support of or against a particular issue. Class culminates in a lively debate demonstration.


SUBJECT AREA(s): English & Language Arts 

Subject Area
English & Language Arts
Naperville, IL

Biomimicry: Natural Design AM (Gr. 5-6)

October 1, 2016 - November 19, 2016 9:00 am to 11:30 am

How is design inspired by nature?

Biomimicry is the science that studies nature’s best ideas and then applies those designs and processes to solve human problems. In this hands-on design studio learn how to use a biomimetic approach to identify an everyday problem and create a sustainable solution. Research strategies and patterns found in nature and and apply those to the design process. Sketch and build low-fidelity prototypes, deliver presentations, and create a design portfolio.

QUALIFYING SCORE: Reading or math

SUBJECT AREA:  Design & Engineering and Science

Subject Area
Design & Engineering
Evanston, IL

Java Programming AM (Gr. 6-8)

October 1, 2016 - November 19, 2016 9:00 am to 11:30 am

How do you create games, simulations, and applications with a coding language?

Learn about Java programming language and object orientation through the use of Greenfoot, a complete interactive development environment. As you build your own games, explore basic Java programming concepts and learn to write in real Java code. Enhance your games with images and sounds.

QUALIFYING SCORE: Reading or math

SUBJECT AREA: Computer Science & Technology

Subject Area
Computer Science & Technology
Evanston, IL

Survey of High School Lab Science Honors: Chemistry AM (Gr. 7-9)

October 1, 2016 - November 19, 2016 9:00 am to 11:30 am

 Chemistry focuses on the composition, structure and properties of matter, as well as the changes undergone during chemical reactions. Develop an appreciation for chemical principles and applications while improving scientific literacy and discovering the interrelationships among chemistry, the other sciences and mathematics. Lab-based experiments and problem solving provide a foundation of knowledge for future study.

FALL: Chemistry

WINTER: Biology

SPRING: Earth Science


●      This course may be counted as a lab science for applications to IMSA.

●      Completion of this 3-course series meets the CTD Summer Program prerequisite of a laboratory science course required for future Honors level science courses in Spectrum and Equinox.

●      Additional $95 lab fee required.



Subject Area
Naperville, IL
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